And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years, Genesis 6:3. With one exception, all major Bible publishers have a lower case "s" on the word "spirit". The one exception is the American Bible Society which responded to a concerted effort by Baptists in America to change it. Since 1850, they have published it with an upper case "S". It has hurt their final product.
Peter Ruckman apparently taught that differences in capitalizations when dealing with the word "spirit" didn't matter. I say apparently because I never heard him say it, and I absorbed a lot of Peter Ruckman between 1978 and 1980. Whenever I discuss the "s" issue with a devoted follower of the good doctor, their eyes glaze over and they tell me that it doesn't matter, Peter Ruckman told them so.
Lest anyone think that this post is about bashing Peter Ruckman, let me say this; I wouldn't be saved today if not for his ministry. It was his writings and preaching that convinced a lost Evangelical on his way to becoming a Presbyterian minister to abandon that path and to seek the truth from within Baptist circles and from a King James Bible. I was eventually saved under the preaching of Billy Dean Randall, an Oliver Greene convert, but I would have never been there if it had not been for Doctor Ruckman's extensive tape and writing ministry. I am not ashamed to quote him when he is right, and I'm not afraid to differ where he is wrong.
Some years ago I heard a biologist being interviewed who had just made some insightful discoveries on the nature of DNA. He had found the purpose for something or other within the genetic goo and he was being lauded by his contemporaries. The interviewer then asked him about the rest of the genetic goo in DNA, and he replied that the parts he hadn't decoded were insignificant leftovers from the evolutionary process. In other words, what he didn't understand wasn't important.
That seems to be the attitude of far too many of my brethren when the issue of capitalizations is brought up. They weren't taught it in Bible College, Peter Ruckman dissed it, it's never mattered before, and so they relegate it to the junk heaps.
In 1868, Henry Moorehouse preached at the Moody Tabernacle in Chicago when Moody was absent. Moody got back and discovered that the altars had been full for three nights. He asked what Moorehouse was preaching and one of Moody's elders told him that Moorehouse was preaching that God loved depraved sinners. Moody immediately told them to shut him down. He though that was heresy. His elders told him he was wrong. They said that Moorehouse was proving his case night by night. Moody's son said that Moorehouse's revelation changed Moody forever.
It is difficult to believe that such an obvious doctrine as Romans 5:8; But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, could have been hidden from believers at large until 1868. Yet, to read the preaching of the Wesleys, Finney, Whitefield, and other revivalists prior to that, is to see that they only saw God's love after the cross. To quote Moody, he only saw the sword prodding the sinner, and God's love after conversion.
In Loraine Boettner's book on the Millennium he disproves any belief in Premillennialism, (especially with any dispensational slant) by asking, "who prior to the late 1800s ever believed in it?" Evangelist Sammy Allen, a man to whom I owe much, told me that when he got saved and called to preach in the 1950s, that no one he knew had ever heard of the Baptistic doctrine of salvation. A man had to chose between being an Arminian or a Calvinist. The idea that a man had free will to be saved, but was saved eternally was just not understood prior to the late 1950s.
Today, if you meet a man that is a Calvinist, he doesn't have enough spiritual power to blow his nose. In the early 20th century, such men had great power. When plain truths that have been hidden from men are revealed through the grace of God, those who reject such truths are bypassed by God. In the 1960s, 70s and even in the 80s it was possible to hear a man preach who had real power with God and still make reference to Greek and Hebrew while preaching.
Today, if a man is not sold on the King James Bible being infallible, he is likely a hireling without any real power on him. There are still a few of the old breed out there who do have some power with God, but as they are dying off they are not being replaced. In the last 50 years, more and more men have climbed on the King James Bible platform. When I was first saved almost 40 years ago, you could have shot into a room crowded with Fundamental Baptists and not been in danger of hitting a King James only man. Today, it is all that God will bless. God will wink at error for a long time, but when the truth is finally revealed, he will no longer wink.
What am I trying to say? I'm saying that just because you weren't taught that capitalization is important, don't dismiss it out of hand. We'll look at Genesis 6:3 in more detail in the next post.